Shortly after Donald Trump hurried back from Walter Reed hospital so he could dominate the news cycle by telling America to stop fearing the reaper, Joe Biden appeared in a town hall event in Florida, broadcast by NBC News. In contrast to the guy posturing like Mussolini on a balcony, Biden emphasized again and again that this is a medical emergency, and so we should do science at it, not pretend that everything's fine so we should party down. When Lester Holt asked, early on, whether Donald Trump should be considered partially responsible for getting infected with the coronavirus, Biden replied that people who play with flamethrowers inside the house probably shouldn't be too shocked when the furniture gets scorched.

Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don't matter, social distancing doesn't matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them.

While he was glad to see that Trump says he's feeling better, Biden also said "Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised," and added that it sure would be nice if Trump took some kind of lesson from his experience:

I would hope that the president having gone through what he went through, and I'm glad he seems to be coming along pretty well, would communicate the right lesson to the American people: Masks matter. These masks, they matter. It matters. It saves lives. It prevents the spread of the disease.

Trump had already, by that point, put out his bizarre video explaining that all great leaders rush out and get potentially deadly diseases because "As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it but I had to do it." Fact check: Leaders are not obligated to hold superspreader events. Though if he's pursuing a strategy of infecting as many Americans as possible to create "herd Immunity," maybe he figured he needed to get sick, so we won't mind the 2.1 million deaths that would result.

Here's the full town hall video for you to watch; we like the parts where Biden actually follows a train of thought and doesn't veer off into conspiracy theories, which is all of it. Also the part where he explains his strategy would not be "Infect 'em all, let God sort 'em out."


Biden said that while it was nice to see Trump "tweeting campaign messages" again, he would offer a bit of advice to the Great Man: "I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists. Support masks. Support a — mask mandates nationwide."

But since that's not what Trump was doing, Biden cautioned that he hopes most Americans won't be misled. Noting that more than 205,000 Americans have died and that 50,000 people are still being infected daily, he said:

There's a lot to be concerned about. [...] I hope no one walks away with the message, thinking that it is not a problem. It's a serious problem. It's an international pandemic and we have four percent of the [world] population, and 20 percent of the deaths.

This morning, to drive home the point that he leads a death cult, Trump tweeted that the flu kills people too, and heck, that's fine, so we shouldn't be worried about a few more hundred thousand deaths:

Biden took questions from "undecided" voters (which how is that even a thing?) on other issues, too, like whether or not he is a socialist, which gave him the chance to point out that he hasn't once called for workers to seize the means of production.

Do I look like a socialist? [...] I'm the guy that ran against the socialist, remember? I got in trouble through the whole campaign, twenty-some candidates — "Joe Biden was too centrist, too moderate, too straightforward." That was Joe Biden.

However, he did not address the important question of whether he would secretly be run by socialists who will impose full communism in his first 100 days. But he did point out that, unlike a certain wannabe oligarch he's running against, he would stand up to dictators, not cozy up to them.

There was also a weird moment where a questioner asked Biden whether his debate with Donald Trump last week signaled he could be bullied: If Trump was able to throw him off message, then how would he hold his own with foreign leaders? Biden rejected the premise of the question, noting that he has met with plenty of foreign leaders and not been pushed around by them, though we sort of wish he'd added that with few exceptions, no other countries have leaders as irrational as Donald Trump either.

That was followed by a very stupid follow-up by moderator Lester Holt, who wondered if Biden regretted having been so rude to Trump when he called him a clown. Then Holt ripped off his David Brooks mask and demanded Biden commit to being more damn civil. Biden shunted that aside and noted that while it was frustrating, Trump refused to actually answer any of the questions, and if anything, Trump's behavior was "embarrassing to the nation."

Fortunately, wingnut media focused on the important stuff. The New York Post devoted an entire article to the half-second when Biden immediately corrected himself on how many Americans have died from COVID-19 ("two hundred ten million — two hundred ten thousand have died"), which is surely far more damning than Donald Trump telling people hey, coronavirus is like a fountain of youth and a really good time!

The end.

[NYT / CNN / CNBC / NYP]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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